Saturday evening marked the opening party of the first Vegan cafe in Georgia!
Located on Vertskhili Street, within walking distance of Freedom Square, Kiwi Cafe is hard to miss with a tidy, yellow exterior amidst the crumbling textures of Old Tbilisi.
Shota and I actually popped-in the day before, eager to see what’s going on, where we had a chat with the owners who then invited us to the opening party the following day. They explained to us how it’s a non-profit cafe, and all workers are volunteers who just want to spread some happiness, knowledge and create a welcoming and refreshing place in the center of Tbilisi.
On that first day, they were making food although weren’t technically open, so Shota and I went for the homemade lemonade they suggested, followed by a falafel wrap which we demolished so quickly I couldn’t even snap a photo.
The falafel was also perfect but, to be honest, I’ve never had bad falafel.
They served a variety of dishes, some sweet, some savoury. Of course apricots and watermelon since they’re in season now in Georgia, but also some rice with raisins, huge salads, Mexican beans and of course falafel.
It attracted quite a lot of people, a very specific type of people for Tbilisi. You don’t see many hippies wandering around Tbilisi, but they showed up today. Also a lot of foreign people like myself are interested because anything is a welcome break from khinkali.
We got chatting with a young Russian couple who had only been in Tbilisi for 10 hours, which was fascinating for me. I think this place will become a place for like-minded people to meet and mingle, as well as a place to discuss and work on environmental issues (first campaigning against the return of a zoo in Tbilisi). Oh, and a cafe of course.
I didn’t get a photo of the menu (which changes according to seasonal produce) but there was quite a variety of hot and cold dishes, smoothies, drinks, grains and of course desserts. I’ve been dreaming about the raw cookie since so maybe a trip back there will be necessary this week…
It was a real community environment, and everyone was so friendly and eager to chat. It’s very refreshing to see in Tbilisi and I can’t wait to see it flourish!
People had guitars and bongos, wine and lemonade. This kind of place needs to exist for the people of Georgia, not just the Vegans or the foreigners. It lends a new way of thinking with more active concern for the environment (which Georgia definitely needs to start appreciating) and also a relaxed and open place for discussion and debate.
Shota highlighted an interesting point too. Georgia is a very religious country which means a vast majority of people are fasting on and off. You could go to Wendy’s and have a ‘fasting cake’ but it seems to defeat the point… So a Vegan cafe is a great alternative which will not only encourage a healthy lifestyle but also present some new ideas regarding food which will only be a good thing here.
Make sure to take a stroll around Old Tbilisi too. You can walk around these streets aimlessly and end up at the same spot – don’t fear getting lost in the faded labyrinth like I have for so long! I’ll be spending much more time there, it’s a reminder of what I love about Georgia. Step behind Subway and you’re walking in a forgotten time.
The buildings are cracked, crumbling and faded. Nature has claimed back a few of them, and humans the rest. You can’t hear the chaos of the city in these streets, and will be welcomed by the local cats and fruit sellers as you try to get past your bewilderment.
I’d recommend not walking under balconies, walk in the road instead and look up!
I’ll finish with a few photos:
I hope you’ve enjoyed! Is there a Vegan cafe in your area? What do you think about banning zoos? It’s something I’m feeling quite passionate about after the flooding here. Have a beautiful day wherever you are!